Luther Ottaway is a serious trading card collector from Naperville, Illinois. He collects across multiple sports including golf, tennis, running and basketball as well as non-sports categories including cards from The Walking Dead television series.
He began his cardboard pursuits in 2012, which happens to be the same year he assembled his very first set on the PSA Set Registry. A native of Taos, New Mexico, who grew up in Wichita, Kansas, he still likes to collect basketball cards of players from his alma mater, Wichita State University.
When he’s not tracking down cards, the 48-year-old treasurer for a large, privately owned electronic components manufacturer enjoys spending quality time with his daughter, Abigail. In fact, it was ”Abby” who steered him toward his current card-collecting passion: the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team.
“Like many USWNT collectors, my interest began as a result of my daughter participating in youth soccer,” said Ottaway. “We really enjoy watching the USWNT play. We were fortunate enough to see them in person on a few occasions, including the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada. Watching the effort they put forth and their amazing results made it easy to become a fan.”
In January, the PSA Set Registry kicked off a contest entitled “My Top 10” where members could show off their favorite cards in a variety of categories and compete for prizes and grading credits. The contest concludes on May 27, 2022, and winners will be announced based on the following criteria: rarity, grades, and eye appeal, combined with the story behind their showcase selections.
Ottaway took this opportunity to enter the contest and share 10 of his favorite cards featuring members of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team including five outstanding 1-of-1’s.
PSA: How did you go about selecting your Top 10 cards?
Luther Ottaway: “Honestly, there wasn’t much science to it. I wanted to include the one-of-one cards for sure. For the others, I wanted to share cards of my favorite players — either with really tough-to-obtain cards like the PSA 10 Kelly O’Hara and Julie Johnston autograph cards or cards featuring unique jersey swatches like the Ashlyn Harris, Alyssa Naeher and Hope Solo memorabilia cards.”
PSA: How did you go about obtaining the five 1-of-1’s within your lineup?
LO: “I acquired them from various places. Two came from eBay, as raw cards; two were part of soccer card breaks in which I participated; and one came from a private sale from a soccer card breaker.”
PSA: What do you enjoy the most about using the PSA Set Registry?
LO: “I really enjoy being able to see the sets of other collectors and the amazing cards they’ve acquired. It can be very inspirational. It’s also interesting to see how your collection compares to others on the Set Registry.”
PSA: How has the Set Registry helped you as a collector?
LO: “The Set Registry has helped me understand what other cards are out there for particular sets. PSA’s Research Team does a terrific job of compiling the [set] checklists, which is helpful in informing collectors which cards may be missing from their collections.
“In terms of networking, I have been able to connect with other collectors to work with them to find mutually beneficial transactions to fill gaps within our respective collections. Also, just being able to see cards from other people’s sets has inspired me to collect certain series that I hadn’t collected previously.”
PSA: What do you consider the most prized card in your entire collection, and why?
LO: “Wow, and here I thought narrowing down the ‘Top 10’ was difficult! I would have to say the one-of-one prime dual memorabilia card from the 2015 Panini USA Soccer series featuring Christie Rampone [now Pearce] and Becky Sauerbrunn.
“I am a big fan of Christie Pearce and collect her cards aggressively, so that contributes to the card’s importance to me, in addition to it being a one-of-one. Another reason is that I — like many people, I imagine — go through my eBay searches religiously every morning as one of the very first things I do each day.
“Most days, there aren’t any cards of interest. However, this is a prime example of how perseverance pays off. I found this card on eBay very early one morning for an extremely reasonable price, which, in my opinion, made it all the more rewarding to purchase.”